With yesterday's news that Phillies starter Brett Myers has officially opted for potentially season-ending hip surgery, the team is left scrambling for a replacement, be it a long-term or short-term option.
General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has already stated that the initial replacement will be internal, and specifically mentioned four names: Andrew Carpenter, Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Kendrick, and Antonio Bastardo.
But who is the best option?
Andrew Carpenter: Arguably the "safe" choice, the least likely to completely blow-up but with the least upside. Mediocre K/BB and K/IP numbers. Had a decent spot start for the Phillies earlier this month, they may want to play it "safe" and go with a guy like Carpenter, which may not be the worst idea, since this offense is capable of winning nearly any game.
Carlos Carrasco: On the surface his stats this year look absolutely grim, but a closer look shows excellent peripheral stats -- his K/BB numbers are terrific, and he's doing a solid job at keeping the ball in the park (5 HR in 55.0 IP). His 0-6 record is primarily a function of a terrible IronPigs bullpen (which just yesterday blew another lead for him). He has also strung together three good starts in a row (including yesterday's 7 IP, 2 R, 6 K outing). At 22, he's the youngest candidate. Carrasco was considered a candidate for the fifth starter slot on the big club in Spring Training, and there's a decent chance the team will move him up now. Anecdotally known for melting down with runners on and in the face of the slightest adversity, pitching on a club with better defense may boost his confidence. However, his meltdown tendencies may be exacerbated by pitching in the majors. An elite talent, but probably needs gentle treatment.
Kyle Kendrick: Yes, two years ago this guy started Game Two of a playoff series for a Major League Baseball team. Since then, he's struggled, and has yet to develop that "out pitch" that he was sent to the minors to work on. His pro and con lists both start with "familiarity" - the Phillies, for knowing him and how he works, and the rest of the league, for having a fairly extensive book on him.
Antonio Bastardo: Kind of a surprising choice, being that he has not really been mentioned among the Phillies best prospects over the past couple of seasons. All Bastardo has done is quietly dominate in every level he's pitched. Over his career he's averaging well over a strikeout per inning pitched (109 Ks, 97.2 IP); his Achilles' heel, especially in Philadelphia, may be his flyball tendencies. The lack of "respect" from scouts may stem from his smallish stature (5'11", 195 lbs. listed, but likely smaller than that), and his stuff which isn't exactly filthy, he nonetheless has shown that he knows how to pitch. Also, Myers' turn in the rotation corresponds with Bastardo's next scheduled turn, which may be a factor. Minuses: He'd be the fourth lefty in the Phillies rotation, which may or may not matter much. He only has two starts at AAA, but both have been good (13 IP, 12 K, 3 ER).
And let's face it, how great is his name?
WRITER'S CHOICE: Bastardo.